Blogging

Do You Write with Specific Blog Audience Members in Mind?

What’s the easiest way to focus on your specific blog audience? A commonly-suggested tip might work for your blog writing.

As you establish your blog audience, how do you make sure you write for that audience?

One common tip involves imagining the demographics of your “target audience,” then creating a profile of one member of the audience. When I worked in marketing, I’d come across this “helpful hint” every so often.

Sometimes, I’d be shown how some television stations will even go pull a stock photography image of a person, male or female, who fits the age range of the “person” they’re targeting for their marketing messages.

‘Pam’ is your friend.

I saw one example that the station had named “Pam.” Pam is a hard-working woman, a thirty-something, married with two children, who is constantly trying to balance her own job, parenting and time for herself. She doesn’t have time to wait around for the information she needs.

The people there who write promos or other advertisements for Pam have never met this particular person because she’s a composite, a fabrication. But they try to write what they write as if Pam is an old friend whom they know better than they know themselves. If Pam’s not happy, they’re not happy.

And if Rodney, fictional Pam’s fictional husband, isn’t happy, it doesn’t matter all that much; as long as Pam’s happy, Rodney doesn’t matter all that much.

I’m being a little facetious, but in a nutshell, that’s how this form of audience targeting works. And though it may sound a little silly, it does tend to work, to some degree, for others.

It has never seemed to work all that well for me.

When it comes to this blog, I do, of course, want to make Pam happy. But I also want to make Rodney happy.

I’d like to make Pam’s next-door neighbors, Aaron and Estelle, who are enjoying their golden years, happy as well. And the young twenty-something single mom who lives on the opposite side of Pam’s house? Yeah, I’d like to make her happy, too.

You can’t be all things to all people.

As a blogger, I’ve never been that good at trying to be all things to one specific kind of person, either.

I always assumed when I started writing, that I’d be writing to people older than me since I’m the guy who’s best described as being an “old soul.” Young folks, I was fairly certain, would be out of my reach.

So I set out to be as honest and authentic as I could be on topics I was passionate about and let the audience come.

If I had tried to create the persona, it probably would have been a woman, since we’re told women read more blogs than men do, but she’d have been closer to 50 years old. Maybe even a few years older than that. She’d have the same kind of concerns I did about the world. She’d be a centrist who tires quickly of people who are so dead-set to be right that they reject common sense.

That’s the perspective from which I write, regardless of the demographics of the folks I hope will actually read.

Sure enough, when I go to my analytics — and I do visit fairly regularly — I find that the audience I tend to attract is 55% male, 45% female. The age range most likely to read my blog is 25-34. That’s followed by 35-44. My age range, 45-54, which I figured would be the ones most likely to read this blog, come in third place.

Yes, I attract nearly the opposite of demographics I expected I would.

Granted, the adoption of technology plays a part, certainly when it comes to people 55+, since many don’t have computers or even smartphones and have no desire to have them. But people my age are still young enough to be heavily involved in technology.

The fictional reader isn’t necessarily bad advice.

If I searched long enough, I’m sure I’d find plenty of bloggers who swear by the strategy.

And if you’re one of them because it has worked well for you, more power to you. I wouldn’t dare consider suggesting that you were wrong to employ the practice.

But one of the biggest things I hope all of my readers understand when I write about the craft of blogging is this: What works for one person does not automatically work for everyone else.

No matter how much the blogging “gurus” out there may argue otherwise, some things only work for some people.

Think of it this way: if there were truly a “one size fits all” guide to blogging, there’d only need to be one single guide.

Everyone would have it.

Everyone would follow it to the letter.

And everyone would be a success at blogging.

I’m not against this interesting little exercise some people use to help them reach the right blog audience. I’m not against it at all.

But sometimes, I think it’s helpful to follow your passion, find your voice, develop your style, and then let the “perfect” blog audience find you.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.